Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport

Baseball Analytics

In response to industry trends, it is important for students to demonstrate the capability to apply advanced critical thinking skills to sports business issues, such as player valuations and salary negotiations in baseball, and have the ability to integrate objective analysis with subjective judgment in a way that adds value to decision processes. From 1900 through the early 2000s, the available baseball data that capture the events occurring on the field of play remained relatively unchanged. An inflection point occurred in 2008 when technology allowed for the capture of new data that exponentially increased the player performance information available to professional baseball teams. This growth in data and information¿including sales and marketing-- leads to a new array of questions that can be addressed using objective information, ranging from consumer's demand for tickets on a given day, versus a given opponent, to the expected performance of a star player and his financial value to a team. This course explores some aspects of the $10+ billion industry of Major League Baseball (MLB). The course focuses on using information, data, and technology to address contemporary issues of running an MLB team, with a special focus on baseball operations. Additionally, it discusses MLB¿s business model and compares it to that of other professional sports. The course examines the economic value associated with winning and losing teams and its implication on the dollar value of players. Furthermore, it discusses the implications of free agency, the amateur draft, sourcing of international players, and the player development system, on a team¿s business operations and finances. Finally, the course explores contemporary issues such as team-owned regional sports networks and their impact on the sport. The class will be taught through a combination of lectures, in class discussion, online discussion boards, case studies with group presentations and guest speakers. Each class will include a review of the reading assignments noted in the syllabus, and students are expected to be fully prepared. Students are required to read assignments from the textbook as well as draw on content and articles from two prominent baseball analytics websites¿ and (the latter has a subscription requirement). The class will also draw on additional sources for data, such as StatCast (from MLB). Students must attend class prepared to engage in discussions; have, articulate and defend a point of view; and ask questions and provide comments based on their reading
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